Thoughts: Oz the Great and Powerful, the prequel to the classic, the Wizard of Oz. Sam Raimi brings the world of Oz to the big screen again, but does the movie succeed? Well, in some ways yes, most others no. Oz the Great and Powerful is a great mixed bag, some scenes are excellent and then other scenes just do not work at all. After the first 50 minutes I was invested in the characters, particularly the little CGIed China Girl, and James Franco as Oz was surprisingly great, and shockingly the CGI monkey was not annoying. Usually comedic CGI characters detract from a film and end up being annoying, but Zach Braff was one of the best parts. However, basically all of the main characters other than the three mentioned earlier where poorly developed and the actors who played were subpar, particularly Mila Kunis. There was a sizable portion of the film that felt as if it was not going anywhere. At one point the two best characters, China Girl and Finley the monkey, where not in the movie for a while and even though it mostly made sense in terms of the narrative, their presence was noticeably lacking.
The first 20 minutes of film were in black and white, 4x3 aspect ratio, similar to the original Wizard of Oz. It worked well, and made the reveal of Oz much more impressive, plus I always enjoy classic film making.
Something that almost everyone loved about the film was that the 3D was said to be spectacular, one of the best 3D films, however the transfer to 2D did not go so well. Many of the effects early in the film looked cheap in 2D.
At the time of watching this film, I had not seen the original Wizard of Oz, however I had seen the Tin Man miniseries and I knew the basic plot. I have since watched the film and the review for the original Oz will be coming soon.
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Family
Release Date: March 8, 2013
Running Time: 130 minutes
MMPA rating: PG
The Good: James Franco was great, Two very likeable CGI characters, Some good humor in the first half, Unique visual style, One unexpected plot twist, Everything about the China Girl, Excellent soundtrack, Occasionally humorous,
The Bad: Weak performances by the witches, Predictable at times, Lacks tonal cohesion, Falls apart later during the middle, Unnecessarily drawn out parts, Underused characters,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
In 1905 Kansas, Oscar "Oz" Diggs works as a small-time magician in a traveling circus. As a storm approaches, the circus strongman learns Oscar has flirted with his wife and goes to attack him. Oscar escapes in a hot air balloon, but is sucked into a tornado that takes him to the Land of Oz. There the witch Theodora believes him to be a wizard prophesied to overthrow the Wicked Witch who killed the King of Oz. En route to the Emerald City, Oscar flirts with Theodora, who falls in love with him, wishing to be his queen when she rules Oz. They encounter the flying monkey Finley, who pledges a life debt to Oscar when he saves Finley from a lion.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 6.2/10- Except for one plot twist, Oz the Great and Powerful's plot was predictable and simple, never ended up being something special. However, three characters in particular, where excellent and I was able to become invested in a few characters, which made the simple story much more enjoyable. Normally I am allergic to "cuteness" but I will admit, the China Girl was mighty dang cute and gave movie an emotional core.
Action: 5.0/10- Oz the Great and Powerful is not an action, as it is a fun family fantasy adventure, however there was one entertaining magical fight in the film.
Acting: 6.0/10- The acting is mostly a mixed bag. James Franco was excellent, he played the jerk aspect well and became more likeable as the film continued. Joey Kind and Zach Braff as the two computer generated characters where top notch, even if the effects for their characters was not the best. At first I was wondering why everyone hated Mila Kunis' performance because she was actually pretty good, later in the movie however, she was kind of awful. She was sorely miscast in her role. Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams gave mediocre performances that felt forced and very acted. The other actors were average at best.
Special effects: 7.9/10- The effects where kind of mixed bag. It probably look fantastic in 3D, but many of the effects could have been so much better. The CGI monkey character was alright, but a little too cartoonish, although that did not detract from the film. The other computer generated character, the China Girl, was done well, even if it was not the most impressive CGI I have seen. Although the visual style is a little jarring at first, because it looked like it was all filmed on a set, it started to grow on me and turned out pretty good overall.
Soundtrack: 8.5/10- Danny Elfman brings a perfect whimsical flare and brings the great world of Oz to life. The soundtrack may be the best aspect of the film.
Comedy: 7.2/10- During the first half of the film, there was a quite a bit of well placed humor, however the second half was lacking it.
Would I Watch This Again: Only when re-watching all of the Oz movies years from now would I consider revisiting it.
Overall: 6.3/10- Oz the Great and Powerful might not live of to the "great" in the name, it is nevertheless a fun and entertaining family adventure, despite its predictability.
Closing comments: I am a little torn about the film, some parts were great and others not so much, as a whole however, it had potential that it never reached.
Recommended for: Fantasy fans, Oz fans,
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